Guido says the Tories are bracing themselves for charges over Thanet South

December 8th, 2016


It could be the first where the Michael Crick C4 investigation has an impact

The big party expenses probe by the Electoral Commission that was triggered off by the series of C4 News reports by Michael Crick appears to be edging forward. Yesterday the Lib Dem were fined £20k by the Electoral Commission following a similar move some weeks back against Labour. The Crick investigation has looked mostly at the GE2015 expenses in crucial battlegrounds for the Tories. Guido writes:

“..The focus will be South Thanet where the Tories ran a highly professional “Stop Farage” effort deploying some of their top operatives… Guido sources say that Conservative HQ is bracing itself for the police investigation resulting in criminal charges.

South Thanet misspending a not an Electoral Commission matter. It is a police matter and potentially a criminal offence under sections 81, 82 and 84 of the Representation of the People Act 1983. Back in June Craig Mackinlay, the Tory who beat Farage, failed to block police extending the time available for their investigation of his election expenses spending. The Tories – in a very rare move – tried to block the police from further investigating the campaign. Guido believes that the South Thanet campaign will prove to be the biggest overspend by any political party in any individual seat ever. Guido understands the Tories spent over £200,000 to stop Nigel Farage winning the seat…”

PB sources have also reported concern within the Tory HQ about other seats.

Quite where this would go electorally is hard to say but it looks set to be one of the big domestic political stories of 2017.

Mike Smithson


This might be reading it all wrong but the LAB vote share is the big interest tomorrow in Sleaford and Hykeham N

December 7th, 2016


Trump the Time magazine “Person of the Year” – it is hard to disagree

December 7th, 2016

Notice that’s he’s described as President of the “Divided States of America”


Day 3 of the Supreme Court hearing opens with the Government’s Betfair chances down to lowest level yet

December 7th, 2016


You can watch live here.

In the Commons today there is the debate on the Labour motion on the triggering of Article 50 and its neat amendment by the Government to accept the principle but links in a statement on the referendum outcome itself.

Whether TMay is able to set the process of extraction going by her self-imposed end March deadline isn’t clear. Her problem remains that a sizeable group of her own backbenchers are against her and that she does not have a Commons majority for doing it her way.

Mike Smithson


Thurday’s Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election – A certain CON hold or could we see a surprise?

December 6th, 2016


An opportunity for UKIP’s Doctor Nuttall?

While there’s been a huge amount of focus on Richmond Park the by-election in Sleaford and North Hykeham has received far less attention – both from the parties themselves and the media.

The result from last time makes it difficult to see other than a CON hold on a very much reduced turnout. The fact that it is happening in December so close to Christmas is surely going to depress the number of voters who will bother to vote and this, just conceivably, could lead to a shock. The UKIP betting price has moved in although Betfair makes the Tories a 1/9 shot. UKIP latest are 21/2 while the LD are 44/1.

Surprisingly LAB, second last time, are right out of it in the betting.

The LDs, flush from their Richmond Park gain, have been active but nothing on the scale of their operation for last Thursday’s contest. UKIP have been working hard too in what will be the first electoral test under Dr. Nuttall’s leadership. On paper this should be ideal territory.

Ladbrokes have a 2nd place market up offering:-

2/5 UKIP
4/1 LD
8/1 CON

Labour being pushed to fourth would be bad news for Corbyn’s party.

Mike Smithson


The polls did NOT get BREXIT wrong: Only 41% had REMAIN leads. 59% didn’t

December 6th, 2016

Is it too much to expect Britain’s PR people to check simple facts?

One of the enduring myths from June 23rd was that the polls got it wrong. Some did but most in the official campaign period didn’t as shown in the chart.

That esteemed body that allegedly speaks for PR people, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), has announced it is holding an inquiry into polling specifically referencing GE2015 and the June 23rd referendum. Certainly the former was a big polling fail and there has been a major inquiry into what went wrong and many pollsters have made changes. Quite what PR men can add to the serious examination that has taken place is hard to say.

But the suggestion that keeps on getting repeated is that the polls got BREXIT wrong. This is rubbish as I keep on repeating. There were more LEAVE lead polls carried out during the official campaign period than REMAIN ones. The figures were 14 REMAIN leads, 17 LEAVE leads and 3 polls had it tied.

It is certainly true that two or three of the final polls were off the mark but the overall picture was reasonably good.

A big factor was postal voting which started more than three weeks beforehand and represented maybe a fifth of all votes. The greater the time gap between the act of voting and being polled is bound to increase errors.

Mike Smithson


Taking stock of 2016. What do you think were the biggest events of this extraordinary political year?

December 5th, 2016


Take the survey in advance of this week’s PB/Polling Matters Podcast

Ahead of this week’s PB/Polling Matters podcast the team have come up with a short survey so that readers of PB can give their thoughts on the biggest winners, losers, shocks and moments from the past year.

Also, perhaps controversially, there is a question in the survey on who people think has been the PB poster of the year.

To take part please click here.

Results will be read out on this weeks show which is due, as usual midweek.

PS. All answers will be anonymous unless you leave your name. Then we may read out the best comments on the show. It’s up to you.

Keiran Pedley


Tonight’s local by-election

December 5th, 2016


Carnoustie and District (SNP defence) on Angus
Result of council at last election (2012): Scottish National Party 15, Independents 8, Conservatives 4, Labour 1, Liberal Democrat 1 (Scottish National Party majority of 1)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Independents 483, 1,750 (51%)
Scottish National Party 582, 1,029 (36%)
Labour 274 (6%)
Conservatives 271 (6%)
Liberal Democrat 41 (1%)
EU Referendum Result: REMAIN 32,747 (55%) LEAVE 26,511 (45%) on a turnout of 68%
Candidates duly nominated: David Cheap (Ind), Mark McDonald (SNP), Beth Morrison (Lib Dem), Derek Shaw (Con), Ray Strachen (Lab)